What is Poverty?

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Poverty is a social construction and reflects the countries general living standards. There are many problems as the definitions are hard to understand with most people as they think in terms of 'absolute poverty'. Also these results tend to measure inequality rather than poverty.

The government definition for poverty is those who have less than 50% the national average income. In Britian 20% of the population has an income below the governments definition of poverty.

There are many forms of Povety that exists within society such as:

  • Relative Poverty- Does not reach the standard of living, compares to people (Changes in each country).
  • Absolute Poverty- No basic needs such as shelter and food.
  • Subjective Poverty- feeling poor based on your surroundings and environment.
  • Capability Poverty- Not being able to live a life characterised by active participation in society.

Relative Poverty

Peter Townsend (Introduced Concept) says that people who lack items others take for granted is poor. He dew up a list of indicators of deprivation and choose the 12 most reliable he thought indicated deprivation.

•No holiday away from home in the last 12 months.

•No relative or friend to visit for a meal in the last month.

•Has not had a friend


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